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Topic Title: Recognition of OU Degrees & CEng Status Overseas
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Created On: 02 May 2013 10:35 PM
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 13 March 2014 01:10 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: jamesgoodwin103
Makes you wonder about all these UK non-accredited degrees that we pay good money for these days eg BSc, MEng, people should be informed you are about to spend years on a Non-Accredited Degree.


You paid good money for a degree and you got a degree or was the relevant university advertising MEng + CEng for £x per year and y years of study?

Regards.
 13 March 2014 01:11 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

According to the International Engineering Alliance, accredited degrees from mutual countries, signed up to the Washington accord, are recognised. This rather agrees with my views and suggests the IET and EC aren't updating their information. Members concerned should make their complaints known to the bodies concerned.

In my previous thread, I mentioned that there is no difference in standards between an accredited degree and a non-accredited degree; except for the fees paid to the IET to achieve accredited status.

There is a general rule, in the UK at least, that in order to teach a course, the teacher has to be qualified to a level above the course they are teaching. So to teach GCSE in Maths, they would need to be qualified to at least A level standard; and so on. With regards to degree level, the teachers are typically qualified to PhD level.

For some reason in the IET and EC, CEngs qualified from zero academic qualification up to PhD can come together and collectively decide the fate of graduates; selecting only those who's universities paid fees and received accredited plus international status; rejecting graduates who's universities didn't pay and leave their fate in the gutter. It's quite extraordinary and unacceptable in this modern day and age; especially where high course fees are the norm.

The IET and EC's responsibility in promoting engineering in the UK is rather limiting due to their narrow interests in recognising some qualifications from some universities and not all engineering qualifications from all of UK academic institutions.

This may be in their interest but is certainly not in the interest of UK plc; which is why I believe the government should take over responsibilities for ensuring that all engineering qualifications, to degree standard, and approved by the department of education be recognised for registration with international agreement made between countries.

Edited: 13 March 2014 at 01:47 PM by mbirdi
 13 March 2014 01:11 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: mbirdi

Just putting in my 2 cents worth: for added entertainment value.


I am always entertained by your posts!

Regards.
 13 March 2014 01:25 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: mbirdi
In my previous thread, I mentioned that there is no difference in standards between an accredited degree and a non-accredited degree; except for the fees paid to the IET to achieve accredited status.

However, there can be a difference in the content, of course. Yes, of course sometimes the very same degree is accredited one year and not the next, but that is down to the university maintaining the scheme.
With regards to degree level, the teachers are typically qualified to PhD level.

Good point, but do researchers, which is essentially what the Dr is, make the best teachers? Based upon my experience no they do not, whilst of course there are some who are excellent teachers. The reason they do this is because theoretically the PhD teacher carries on researching and thus keeps their teaching content up to date, and of course that is fair enough, but it does not necessarily make them the best at delivering that teaching. I found the best teachers to be those who had good industry/business experience and academic ability because they were able to make the subject more real and less theoretical and most people on the courses are going into industry/business and not research.
For some reason in the IET and EC, CEngs qualified from zero academic qualification up to PhD can come together and collectively decide the fate of graduates; selecting only those who's universities paid fees and received accredited status plus international status; rejecting graduates who's universities didn't pay and leave their fate in the gutter.

I think you rather over state that last little bit; for example my uni where I did my accredited degree dropped it and for the years following they have not been in the gutter and neither have those gaining the degrees.
It's quite extraordinary and unacceptable in this modern day and age; especially where high course fees are the norm.

No actually it is perfectly acceptable, by the fact it is accepted.

Regards.
 13 March 2014 02:12 PM
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mbirdi

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Originally posted by: westonpa
You paid good money for a degree and you got a degree or was the relevant university advertising MEng + CEng for £x per year and y years of study?

I don't agree because universities (and colleges) collectively are worth billions of pounds and it's not acceptable for small organisations like the IET and EC, with royal charters granted by the privy council, to hold these universities to ransom; especially when it's not in the interest of UK's economic prosperity.

There is a saying that goes:The less you say, the more intelligent (or competent) you are seen to be. I think in the case of the IET and EC, it's the other way round.

I also added a bit more to my previous thread above which you might like to comment on.

Edited: 13 March 2014 at 02:19 PM by mbirdi
 13 March 2014 02:41 PM
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Zuiko

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Originally posted by: mbirdi

I don't agree because universities (and colleges) collectively are worth billions of pounds and it's not acceptable for small organisations like the IET and EC, with royal charters granted by the privy council, to hold these universities to ransom; especially when it's not in the interest of UK's economic prosperity.]



I agree, it is the tail wagging the dog.
 13 March 2014 09:09 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: mbirdi
I don't agree because universities (and colleges) collectively are worth billions of pounds and it's not acceptable for small organisations like the IET and EC, with royal charters granted by the privy council, to hold these universities to ransom; especially when it's not in the interest of UK's economic prosperity.

Fair enough you are entitled to your opinion of course. Having read your modifications that makes more sense and I can see the merit in what you are suggesting.

In that respect it would seem to be a rather serious error, which has now been highlighted!

Regards.
 14 March 2014 09:12 AM
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roybowdler

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I'm sorry but I have to disagree with some of this hyperbole like "in the gutter" or "holding to ransom", I have seen much better quality arguments from these contributors. In fact I have at times even agreed with them

The IET is a membership body which seeks to build consensus. Accreditation involves a significant voluntary contribution by IET members, who in this situation are mainly fellow academics and it is conducted on a not for profit basis.

An accredited course represents a relatively safer choice of investment since it has been independently scrutinised. Completing an accredited programme offers an advantage when seeking professional registration , but many different combinations of learning and professional achievement can lead to registration. Especially at post-graduate level there are numerous niche or even individually bespoke Masters and Doctoral programmes of excellent standard which it would be impractical to accredit.

In this context the IET ( and other professional institutions regulated by EC) are collaborating with the academic institutions, to maintain standards and share best practice. However the potential downside of trying to ensure that every accredited course maintains the same minimum standards is rigidity. As an employer, I was involved in several programmes where the desire of a university to seek professional body accreditation, was detrimental to employers interests. Arguably these more vocationally oriented programmes didn't fit well with the consensus of academic opinion about what an accredited degree should contain.

Therefore purely as a personal perspective, I think that universities should seek to offer accredited undergraduate engineering programmes appropriate to their circumstances, as part of their portfolio. In many situations some post-graduate programmes will also comfortably fit into accreditation.

I am not aware of IET taking a negative attitude to non-accredited programmes in more recent times - is anyone else? For example we have strongly supported the "Gateways" model degree programmes which are difficult to accredit because of their bespoke nature.

Many people also gain registration with OU qualifications, although an accredited pathway was also established recently.

The premise of this debate was around mobility and recognition. International treaties can make mutual recognition easier , but even amongst countries with similar cultures, differences in practice grow up, which become enshrined in legal or quasi-legal regulations. In the UK we have an open system in which professional registration is voluntary, we seek to minimise the extent of "red tape" but we will only register according to UK-SPEC standards. Since UK-SPEC is "competence based" with "academic benchmarks" then an assessment may lead to a different outcome than a system based mainly on academic qualifications. I am not familiar with the detail of any problems in Australia, but I very much hope that our friends in Australia are able to use pragmatism and good sense to ensure fairness, since these seem to me classic Australian characteristics, that made it the great country that it is.

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Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 14 March 2014 09:33 AM
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Zuiko

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Originally posted by: roybowdler
Accreditation involves a significant voluntary contribution by IET members, who in this situation are mainly fellow academics and it is conducted on a not for profit basis.


So the IET makes no money from accreditation.....

Completing an accredited programme offers an advantage when seeking professional registration


But IET accreditation makes it easier to register, which is a money making process.





However charitable the intentions of individuals involved in accrediation, to say that the accreditation programme does not make money for the IET sounds fishy when looking at the bigger picture. The IET accrediting degree programmes for no financial self-interest? Don't buy it.








Many students at the OU are already working in engineering and have a sound knowledge base; this may be mainly practical; and choose to study to further their career and increase their theoretical knowledge. All the physics and many maths modules are not on the new accredited pathways and are now not available to the engineering student. These modules provide an understanding of the principles that govern engineering, and may suit engineers working at the boundary between scientific research and practical engineering.

The IETs accreditation process has removed much choice for the working engineer wishing to study a programme relevent to them, especially if the OU and other distance learning universities are the only options available. For these students, it is not an open market like it is for 17 year olds doing their A levels and applying to the Uni of their choice. For them to gain a BEng, their degree programme is being limited by the IET. This is the tail wagging the dog. Engineers are the future of the IET; not the other way round.


Accreditation can dumb down a curriculum to suit the lowest common denominator - that being what the IET wants to make registration with them advantageous.

Edited: 14 March 2014 at 03:55 PM by Zuiko
 14 March 2014 04:35 PM
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mbirdi

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Originally posted by: roybowdler
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with some of this hyperbole like "in the gutter" or "holding to ransom", I have seen much better quality arguments from these contributors. In fact I have at times even agreed with them

Sometimes tabloid style vocabulary is used to spice up the debate; but it is also used to draw out reluctant IET reps. to engage in the debate; especially after members have pointed out anomalies and require clear and concise answers from the IET.

Perhaps you can provide the answer to the question below, which is the theme of this debate?

Are engineers, who obtain their CEng outside of the normal accredited degree route, fully recognised by the Washington Accord?

Edited: 15 March 2014 at 12:49 PM by mbirdi
 15 March 2014 10:15 PM
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GeorgeMadden

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Good question mbirdi

The EC web site says ' The Chartered Engineer is recognized as the professional title for engineers under the Washington Accord ' 
If EC state this then mra with all countries should reflect this.
 16 March 2014 02:23 PM
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mbirdi

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George,

Have you read my post above where there's a link to the 'International Engineering Alliance'? If you click on the link and then click on Washington Accord you will see that accredited degrees from licenced institutions are a requirement.

Edited: 16 March 2014 at 02:29 PM by mbirdi
 16 March 2014 06:21 PM
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Zuiko

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surely, the point of the accreditation process is to make it easier- i.e. automatic - for the IET to recognize the academic relevance of a degree, which is the underpinning knowledge criteria for registration.

If the degree is not accredited automatically, then the candidate goes down a personal route with the IET.

If the IET then says "yes, your degree is good for registration" then as far as I am concerned, that candidates degree is considered accredited by the IET and everything should be hunky dory.

That is common sense and fair play.



If that does not happen it is outrageous: in effect the IET would be running a two-tier CEng.
 16 March 2014 10:49 PM
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GeorgeMadden

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Zuiko

I agree with you what you say.

I also see what mbirdi is saying.

At the end of the day mbirdi question
Still needs answered.
 17 March 2014 09:04 AM
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roybowdler

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]Originally posted by: mbirdi



Perhaps you can provide the answer to the question below, which is the theme of this debate?



Are engineers, who obtain their CEng outside of the normal accredited degree route, fully recognised by the Washington Accord?


I'm sorry but I can't , the Washington Accord is a matter for Engineering Council.

As far as the OU is concerned, I very much hope that gaining accreditation isn't having an unintended negative consequence for experienced engineers who might find a different choice of modules more appropriate to their needs. The IET advises experienced engineers studying at academic course to choose the options most appropriate to their career. This is a different situation from someone developing a knowledge base in preparation for a career.

Like any organisation the IET has to operate in a financially sustainable way, but it is a "not for profit" and registered charity. Fees for services such as accreditation and professional registration are relatively modest and designed to cover the cost of the activity. In areas of activity where the IET does operate on a profitable basis any surplus is ploughed back - for example in bursaries, scholarships etc.

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Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 17 March 2014 10:38 AM
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GeorgeMadden

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Roy

Thanks for answer.

On behalf of All CEng engineers on EC register with non accreditated degrees.

Can someone in the IET ask EC the mbirdi question.

MRA may need tp be renegotiated.

It is noted that the IET are signing of these agreements on behalf of CEng members and not EC.

Edited: 17 March 2014 at 10:54 AM by GeorgeMadden
 17 March 2014 11:21 AM
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Zuiko

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Originally posted by: roybowdler The IET advises experienced engineers studying at academic course to choose the options most appropriate to their career. This is a different situation from someone developing a knowledge base in preparation for a career.



Roy,
I am not sure that the two examples are always as different as you say - in many cases they may be the same thing.


Either way, the situation is not satisfactory. Just imagine the scenario where a student wants to take modules x,y,z in their degree programme. These modules are "most appropriate for their career", but the choice of modules is not automatically accredited. After a chat with the IET they are given the blanket statement, "as long as you pass and the degree and pass the project, your choice of modules is okay for registration". The student passes and in due course is awarded CEng.

Several years down the line, the Chartered Engineer needs to work in a territory under the Washington Accord, but is told they are not a Chartered Engineer.

If this is the case it is unsatisfactory. If this is happening then the IET is running a two tier system. A career lasts five or more decades, so asking the student to chose the best modules for their career is asking them to look into the unknown future - impossible. What may be best for them now - an unaccredited degree, may not be good in 10 years time when their work takes them abroad.


I note that you pass at least some of the responsibility to the Engineering Council. Unsatisfactory. The IET awards CEng on behalf of the Engineering Council, and if the IET is awarding second rate CEng qualifications then this needs to stop. It is the IET that accredits degrees, and if the IET is doing this in full knowledge that they are running a two tier system, they must stop doing so.

I see no practical difference - in registration terms - between an automatically accredited degree and a degree that is considered by the IET to be of the same value. Indeed, as said earlier, for OU degrees where there used to be much more scope to tailor a degree, many of the more academically challenging modules are no longer accredited. Which is an absurdity - especially when you say that accreditation by the IET is to "maintain standards" (is it to maintain the lowest common denominator?). Is it really the job of the IET to "maintain standards" of British Universities? Are the volunteers of the IET more qualified to do so than the professionals that write, teach and assess degree modules in our universities or is this hubris on the part of the IET? (this is my point about the tail wagging the dog).



Is a First Class unaccredited degree full of difficult modules really worth less than a 2:2 or third class accredited degree full of modules chosen by the IET (being blunt, anybody can get a 2:2, with a minimum of effort and/or intellect).

Because that is exactly what it looks like.

Edited: 17 March 2014 at 03:21 PM by Zuiko
 17 March 2014 04:37 PM
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roybowdler

Posts: 276
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George,

I am not familiar the mutual recognition agreements, but I have passed on your concerns.

Zuiko,

I think that your phrase unsatisfactory is a fair one, but the professional institutions licenced in the UK can only operate to UK rules. We can't withhold registration to someone deserving in the UK, in case they are not recognised by another jurisdiction. The IET is as fair and consistent as we can be in applying UK-SPEC, including to overseas applicants.

If other countries operate to different rules, then by negotiation the area of overlap can be mutually recognised, assuming both parties wish to cooperate. However, there will be areas where the overlap is imperfect and rules can't cover every eventuality. In these situations, I think that helpfulness by the country where the person is working (and therefore benefiting that country) goes a long way.

Otherwise, the only point I would wish to challenge is the nature of those who carry out academic accreditation. As far as I am aware (I don't organise accreditation) IET accreditors are the professionals that write, teach and assess degree modules in our universities. As accreditors they use that expertise to evaluate other institutions, in a form of peer review, organised by the IET under Engineering Council rules. Universities typically have a wide range of quality assurance processes both internally and externally driven. Professional body accreditation is a useful and generally valued additional option.

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Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 17 March 2014 04:52 PM
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Zuiko

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That's not a really acceptable answer Roy,

You are saying this is the case:

The IET decides if the degree is worthy of accreditation for CEng (and therefore recognition abroad under the Washington Accord).

So the IET decides who is appropriately qualified to be registered as a chartered engineer that will be recognised abroad.

But the IET also wilfully accepts candidates to apply for, and be awarded CEng with a degree that is not recognised by the Washington Accord.

So the IET decides who is appropriately qualified to be registered as a chartered engineer in the UK but may not be recognised abroad.


If this is not a two-tier system, I don't know what is. Epsecially considering that the IET, as you said earlier, does actively encourage candidates to undertake non-accredited degrees.




The IET is accepting subs from two sets of people, both with the same standards of qualifcation and experience, in full knowledge that they are going to be viewed differently abroad.



You say that the IET cannot withold registration for a suitably qualified person in the UK, but can and does withold accreditation of THE SAME PERSONS DEGREE for recognition abroad.

It's fine saying that foreign juristictions have their own rules, but it is the IET that makes the decision!



Might a sensible option be that the IET accredits in bulk (i.e. an entire degree programme) and personal-route degrees, so that all CEng candidates have an IET accredited degree.

Any other situation is unfair and absurd.

Might I also suggest that the IET operate to the highest international standards, so that anybody attaining CEng in the UK is qualified to a higher standard than the equivalent anywhere abroad?


British Chartered Engineers with an IET approved-but-unaccredited degree should not be second class engineers, especially when their qualifications may - and often will be - better than their internationally recognised peers.

Edited: 17 March 2014 at 05:01 PM by Zuiko
 17 March 2014 07:40 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
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Originally posted by: Zuiko
But the IET also wilfully accepts candidates to apply for, and be awarded CEng with a degree that is not recognised by the Washington Accord.

The IET/EC accepts CEng without degrees. We have had many CEng in these forums arguing that they do not and should not have to require a degree for CEng if they can show the relevant competencies from their work.

So what about those CEng? Surely if they were left out then they would have an argument as well, after all they are CEng and so should be equal to other CEng?

Regards.
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